Sunday, August 21, 2011

these are some of my favorite things

Laughing 'til it pisses everybody off,
Pulling up my dress at a dinner meeting,
Kissing 'til my lips are ready to fall off,
Screaming all night, then just say I'm singing,
These are some of my favorite things.
 - Beth Hart - "Favorite Things"

It's a fabulous song, really - I earnestly encourage you to click the link and have a listen.

Anyway, sorry about the absence - things have been a little crazy here: upcoming life changes leading to deep, long, slightly tear-soaked conversations about the future and goals, getting trapped in a flood plain and taking 2 hours to get home from work, too much thinking, not enough writing.  Here's a quick synopsis:

Right before a long and somewhat stressful conversation about some changes coming up in the foreseeable future, Mister and I had a tasty dinner of Blessed Broccoli and Tofu StirFry from La Dolce Vegan.  It was so good, and the leftovers I had for lunch the next day, once resolutions had been reached and I was done freaking out, were even better.

Friday was a Bizarro Day but also exciting and stimulating.  Nevertheless, the end of the day couldn't come fast enough and I was more than happy to get out of work.  Unfortunately, this weird thing has been happening over the past few weeks - it waits until I'm about 10 minutes from leaving work and then the skies open up and pour rain.  That is what happened last night.  Fortunately, the nice young man who was trying to drive me to the train station also lives in Philadelphia and volunteered to take me to my actual home.  This was nice, since every single road we tried to take to the train station was flooded and emergency personnel wouldn't actually let us pass.  There were a few terrifying, fingers-crossed moments when we drove his tiny, low-to-the-ground Chrysler Crossfire through some pretty deep "puddles."

Adorable, sporty little car and if he ever gets tired of it (while it still works), I wouldn't mind taking it off his hands, but they are not built for inclement weather, much less the Apocalypse.  I haven't seen flooding that bad in years....since the last time it took me three and a half hours to get home from work.  Sorry to anyone who lives in PA and is reading this, but I have a deep-seated hatred for Montgomery County.  It loves to flood there.  I don't appreciate it.

Anyway, two and a half hours after leaving the building, I arrived safely home in Philadelphia with no desire to cook but very hungry.  Mister suggested Maoz for dinner and I was absolutely on board with a falafel salad.

Tonight, then, after successfully making it to and from lessons without washing away in the effusive sunlight, I came home and slow-cooked a nice hearty dinner: Tasty Tempeh TVP Chili, also from La Dolce Vegan.

If you don't think that looks hearty and savory and chewy and all the things a good chili should be.... check for a pulse, please.

We love Sarah Kramer's chili, but I haven't made this recipe in a while because Mister is allergic to tempeh and did not at all appreciate the time I made this with barley substituting for the tempeh.  This time around I used TVP and it made an incredible difference.  This may very well be our new favorite chili recipe and we ate every last morsel with the help of our Tostitos "spoons."  We also love (at least, our sometimes over-packed fridge loves) how all the recipes in La Dolce Vegan are the right size for our two-human-one-kitty family and there are rarely leftovers.  That was certainly the case tonight!

After dinner and dishes, I got down to my favorite part of the week - menu planning!  I might have a different favorite part of the upcoming week, but we'll get to that when it's time. For now, feast your eyes on this week's list of...well, feasts.

1. Pasta e Fagioli with Spinach from Appetite for Reduction.  Actually, although Maoz (and our 1-block proximity to it) is one favorite thing and the chili recipe is another favorite thing, I came up with the title of the post because this week's menu is a throw-back to a lot of my favorite recipes that I haven't made in a while.  Normally, when I plan my menu, I pull out a book or two and force myself to pick recipes from those two.  Tonight, I allowed myself the luxury of hopping throughout my cookbook collection if one recipe reminded me of another I'd rather make.  This is how this recipe came to be part of the menu - I was looking in The Urban Vegan and came upon her Pasta e Fagioli recipe, but I wanted to make this one instead.  So there you go.

2. Modular Pakistani Kima from The Urban Vegan.  This is a great recipe because I can pick a different combination of ingredients from her provided lists each time I make it.  I've made it a few times, but this time I'm using yet another configuration of ingredients - kale + TVP + peas + all the standard stuff.   This is a very pantry-friendly dish.

3. Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Spinach, also from The Urban Vegan.  That's all I have to say about that for the moment.

4. Spicy Ragout of Vegetables and Tofu from Quick Vegetarian Pleasures.

5. Jerk Seitan on Coconut Rice, both from Vegan with a Vengeance, and a recipe that I specifically sought out after something else reminded me of its amazingness.

6. Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes and Kalamata Tapenade, also from VwaV.  I had actually forgotten about this recipe (which seems like a statement that should get me hung) and only "rediscovered" it because I was flipping through the book looking for the Jerk Seitan recipe as well as the recipe for Sunny Blueberry-Corn Muffins, which I will be baking tomorrow to share with the nice young man who went way out of his way to get me home when SEPTA didn't feel like doing so (probably because their tracks were underwater, the trains are electric-powered, and the busses could cross the moat that was developing around my business center).

Anyway, I'm off to start writing a long-overdue letter....stay tuned for more fun and the revelation of Secret #2 shortly...

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